Hildebrand was pushed: report

The resignation of Swiss central bank chief Philipp Hildebrand came at the urging of the eleven-member Bank Council, newspaper Blick reports.

Hildebrand was pushed: report
Swiss National Bank

Citing three independent sources, the paper said the council threatened to resign en masse if Hildebrand did not agree to step down over a currency scandal that erupted in the wake of his wife’s massive dollar transactions last summer.

Hildebrand told a news conference on Monday that his resignation would take effect immediately. He explained he could not provide conclusive evidence that he had been unaware of his wife’s transactions.

The council said on Monday it had “taken note” of Hildebrand’s resignation and “accepted” his decision.

But according to Blick, there was nothing voluntary about Hildebrand’s decision. In a weekend characterized by tension and power struggles, Hildebrand reiterated his reluctance to leave his post, the paper said.

The council reacted by taking the highly unusual step of threatening a mass resignation if Hildebrand refused to retreat of his own accord, Blick said, citing unnamed sources.

Hildebrand’s colleagues lent their support to the embattled central banker as the scandal gained momentum last week.

However, the council is believed to have reconsidered its position after viewing an email exchange between Hildebrand, his wife and their Sarasin bank client advisor Felix Scheuber.

The emails, released by the SNB on Monday, showed the central banker had been involved in discussions about a dollar trade but left it unclear whether he had approved it.


Swiss National Bank hit by new spray paint attack

A woman activist spray painted a message on a billboard outside Switzerland’s central bank on Friday in an echo of a similar protest last year in which an 86-year-old woman was arrested.

Swiss National Bank hit by new spray paint attack
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

The incident occurred as the Swiss National Bank (SNB) held its annual general meeting in Bern, the Blick newspaper reported.

An unidentified woman sprayed the message 'please remember why we founded you' on the billboard in red paint.

According to the paper, the protestor was campaigning in support of the campaign for monetary reform, which goes to a nationwide vote in June.

READ ALSO: Why the Swiss National Bank needs more gold

Known as the Vollgeld Initiative in German and the Initiative Monnaie Pleine in French, the initiative calls an end to traditional bank lending and for the SNB to be the only financial institution able to issue money. 

The SNB opposes the sovereign money initiative.

With the help of other activists, the spray painter removed the words a short time later.

Almost exactly one year ago an 86-year-old woman was arrested after spraying an anti-war message outside the SNB in a case that drew worldwide attention.

READ ALSO: Woman, 86, arrested for spraying anti-war graffiti on Swiss National Bank

The peace activist spray-painted ‘Money for weapons kills' on the billboard. 

She was campaigning on behalf of the Group for a Switzerland without an Army (GSsA) which had launched a popular initiative to ban Swiss financing of any company that produces arms. 

If it gathers the required 100,000 signatures by October 2018, the issue will go to a national referendum.